(Daily Montanan) NorthWestern Energy announced Thursday that Bob Rowe will retire as chief executive officer and a member of NorthWestern Energy’s board of directors at the end of 2022.

Wednesday, as part of a planned leadership succession, the NorthWestern Energy board of directors appointed Brian B. Bird, currently the company’s president and chief operating officer, to serve as Rowe’s successor, NorthWestern said in a news release.

Effective Jan. 1, 2023, Bird will assume the title and responsibilities of president and chief executive officer and become a member of NorthWestern Energy’s board of directors, the company said.

For the remainder of 2022, NorthWestern said Rowe will continue to work closely with Bird in support of a smooth transition, which began in February 2021 when the board approved a modification to the executive leadership team that named Bird president and chief operating officer.

“Brian is a respected industry financial leader with an excellent understanding of NorthWestern Energy’s operations,” said NorthWestern Energy Chairman of the Board Dana Dykhouse in a statement. “He has been instrumental in guiding the company to today’s solid financial footing.”

“Under Brian’s leadership, NorthWestern Energy will continue to focus on securing sufficient capacity to serve our customers reliably and affordably; modernizing the energy infrastructure to make it smarter, more reliable and flexible; providing our customers an ever-better experience and service; deploying technology that is cost effective and has proven value for our customers; and, enhancing our environmental stewardship,” Rowe said in a statement from NorthWestern.

Bird joined NorthWestern Energy as the chief financial officer in December 2003, the company said.

Recently, Bird steered NorthWestern Energy’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality in its electric and natural gas operations by 2050 and the company’s environmental, social and corporate governance programs and reporting.

“For 100-plus years NorthWestern Energy has delivered safe, reliable and affordable energy to our region,” Bird said in a statement. “I am honored to be entrusted with the role of leading this company as we begin the next 100 years and beyond of service.”